In this age of innovation and technology, who hasn’t heard of Elon Musk? He a genius entrepreneur, investor, and engineer who has slightly crazy ideas relating to technology! And if you don’t believe that his ideas are crazy yet brilliant, you will after reading this article!!!
Let’s start with a little basic introduction. Elon Musk was born on 28 June 1971 in South Africa and but his real journey to fame started in the USA after he enrolled in a Ph.D. at Stanford for 2 days but then dropped out in 1995 to start his own web software company Zip2 (This seems to be a trend among genius entrepreneurs!!!) The fact that Musk was a part of the .com boom in the 1990’s also contributed a lot to his early success and he sold Zip2 in 1999 for $340 million. He then moved on to the company that really made him really famous, PayPal. It was an online payment website that was later sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 Billion. This obviously made Musk quite rich (understatement!) but it was just the start of his meteoric entrepreneurial career.
He then went on to create some of the most unique and interesting companies in the world with company goals ranging from “creating a human colony on Mars” to “keeping the humans safe from advanced artificial intelligence“. Because whatever you say about Elon Musk, the man doesn’t think small! So now, let’s see the Top 5 Interesting Companies Started By Elon Musk so you can get to know more about him.
Have you ever looked at the night sky and wondered what would it feel like to go into space? Have you ever thought about how fun it might be to live on Mars? Well, apparently Elon Musk thought the same thing! He founded SpaceX in 2002, which is a private company that designs, manufactures and launches rockets into space. And the ultimate mission of SpaceX is to make our dream of living on other planets a reality!!!
And SpaceX holds many world records currently. It was the first commercial company that managed to put a satellite into Earth Orbit using its own Falcon 1 rocket on September 2008. Elon Musk also believed that the way way to reduce the cost of space travel was to reuse rockets after they had been launched. This was considered impossible at the time by many space experts but SpaceX created history in December 2015 when they managed to land their Falcon rocket back onto the launch pad. Currently, SpaceX is working on the Starship, which is a spacecraft that will be able to launch all the Earth-orbit, Lunar-orbit or interplanetary missions of SpaceX and even be able to carry humans into space.
And that’s not all! Elon Musk also stated in his biography that he wanted to establish a Mars colony by 2040, with a population of around 80, 000 people. That definitely sounds like science fiction now, but who knows? It might be a future reality!
This is a critical time period for cars!!! Oil reserves are decreasing in the world and air pollution is only increasing. In such a situation, the only long term solution for traveling is electric cars! And while the technology for electric cars already existed, it was revolutionized by a company called Tesla Inc. created in July 2003. However, Elon Musk joined Tesla in 2004 as its chairman and then became its CEO and product architect in 2008. In fact, as of 2019 Musk holds the record as the longest-tenured CEO of any automotive manufacturer in the world!
Tesla started small in 2008 by building its first electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. Then Tesla moved on with the Model S sedan, which was the world’s best-selling plug-in car in 2015 and 2016. Currently, Tesla sells 4 car models: the Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y. Out of these, Model 3 was the most sold plug-in electric car in the U.S. in 2018 with total yearly sales of 139, 782 cars. That’s a world record as no other electric cars had sold more than 100, 000 units in a single year until then!!!
Fun Fact: Elon Musk wanted to name Model 3 as Model E but could do that as the trademark for that name was held by Ford. And the reason he wanted to name this car as Model E was that he wanted the model names of Tesla’s first four vehicles to spell “SEXY”!!!
Imagine a time far in the future where artificial intelligence has become so smart that it may even control human beings or even lead to our extinction! While this sounds like science fiction, it is a real concern for some people as AI becomes more and more sophisticated. Keeping this in mind, Elon Musk announced the creation of OpenAI in December 2015 which aims to make sure that the AI created is safe and useful for humans in the future (So no doomsday scenarios occur!!!). However, Musk resigned from the board of directors in February 2018 as Tesla was investing more and more in AI and this may have caused a conflict of interest for him.
The main mission of OpenAI is to make sure that all Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) produced in the world benefits humanity and does not lead to any accidental (or intentional!!!) harm for humans. AGI means any intelligent machine that can perform economically valuable tasks at the same level as humans or even better than them. And while AGI is still far in the future (In the present, it is found in science fiction movies only!) it may become a reality someday and OpenAI is basically saying “Better safe than sorry”.
Would you like your brain to be connected to artificial intelligence so that you can become a human-robot hybrid with mysterious mind powers? This is what Neuralink aims to do in the long term future. Of course, this sounds like a science fiction concept and this company was even inspired by science fiction!!! Elon Musk was inspired to co-create Neuralink in 2016 by a science fiction concept called a “neural lace” which is a brain-computer interface that is implanted into the brains of people and allows for mind-reading among other things. (Yup, Neuralink is a real company with around 90 employees!)
Currently, Neuralink is working on a device that can implant very thin electrode threads into the brain to read thoughts directly from there. These experiments were performed on lab-rats by using 1500 electrodes in their brain (which is 15 times more electrodes than ever used on human brains) and Neuralink has announced that they intend to start human experimentation in 2020. (This company really blurs the line between actual science and science fiction!!!)
5. Boring Company
What do you do when you are stuck in traffic? Curse the drivers in front of you? Repeatedly sound the horn in the hope that the traffic will magically disappear? Or just patiently wait for the cars to start moving again? You may do any of these things, but when Elon Musk was stuck in traffic in January 2017, he did something entirely different!!! First, he tweeted “Traffic is driving me nuts. I am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” and then created a privately-funded tunnel construction company called the Boring Company to fix the problems created by the 2D transport system (Like traffic jams!)
To avoid traffic on roads, Musk wants to create tunnels known as tubes under the ground which would have electrically powered autonomous vehicles to take people from one place to another at speeds of approximately 250 km/h. This insane speed would decrease commute times, decrease traffic jams, decrease traveling costs and also decrease greenhouse gas emissions. So the Boring Company could contribute to lesser traffic jams and also lesser global warming!!! Currently, there are many such tunneling projects under progress in the USA like The Chicago Express Loop, Dugout Los Angeles Loop, Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, East Coast Washington D.C. to Baltimore Loop, etc.